Release Date: Feb 26, 2013
Record label: Dualtone Music
Genre(s): Folk, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
Although the name Ivan & Alyosha may make it seem like these guys are some sort of Russian folk duo, Ivan & Alyosha is actually a four-piece band out of Seattle (the name honors a pair of characters from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov) specializing in a kind of Beatlesque folk-pop that mixes wonderful melodies with thoughtful, intelligent lyrics and gorgeous four-part vocal harmonies. All the Times We Had is the group's debut album, although they released a series of EPs prior to it, and it signals the arrival of a delightful band that, one hopes, will only get better, although it's hard to ask for more than what this album already delivers. The songs here are simply stunning, with melodies to die for, and aside from a couple of songs that try a bit too hard to take on the troubles of the universe, there isn't a serious misstep anywhere in this set.
Today’s saturated mainstream and alternative music scenes demand a lot from bands like Ivan and Alyosha, whose honeyed, California-meets-Nashville style of folk-pop must compete with a throng of other widely-appealing bands in indie music before reaching the masses. The Seattle foursome is already worth a pretty penny though, as their music is more than merely pleasing to the ear. On All The Times We Had, at least half of the 11 tracks have been written and recorded to be emotionally affecting, lyrically compelling, and melodically dazzling.
Ivan & AlyoshaAll the Times We Had(Dualtone)Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5) This oddly monikered Seattle four piece—named after two characters in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, for those not schooled in Russian literature — revels in acoustic-based yet sweeping soundscapes indebted as much to Phil Spector as The Lumineers. Lead singer Tim Wilson’s sweet, subtle voice helps these lovely strummers take flight, keeping the melodies up front while offsetting their grander ambitions with his sympathetic approach. The throbbing rhythmic undercurrent that pushes the closing “Who Are You” even sounds like U2 in their War days.